Today I have some news that I hope you’ll find very exciting, although you may have already heard a bit about it if you’re following me on Twitter. I’ve been waiting two and a half years to say this… Viral Art: How the internet has shaped street art and graffiti, my new ebook, comes out in just two weeks. Starting December 16th, the entirety of Viral Art will be available to read for free online at ViralArt.net. For now, there’s a brief excerpt published on Hyperallergic, and two more excerpts will be going up on other blogs between now and the 16th.
What is Viral Art about?
Viral Art traces how the histories of street art and graffiti have been shaped by communication technologies, from trading photos by hand to publishing books to sharing videos online. It is the most comprehensive look to date at how the internet has affected street art and graffiti. Conceptualizing the internet as a public space, I conclude the book by arguing that the future of street art and graffiti may lie in digital interventions rather than physical ones.
Why does Viral Art matter?
If you want to understand street art and graffiti, you have to understand how books, movies, magazines, photographs and the internet have affected artists and fans. Viral Art gets into all of that in depth, from the early days of graffiti through today.
Today we live on our laptops and smartphones, so I argue that the best way to keep the core values of street art and graffiti alive is for artists to take over the public space of the internet. It’s a claim sure to cause controversy in the street art, graffiti and internet art communities, but it might be the best way to save all three from irrelevance.
At Vandalog, we try to take stands and to go beyond just posting the latest pretty pictures. In that same vein, Viral Art isn’t just another street art book cheer-leading the movement on. It’s history and theory with a critical stance, and my plea to keep street art and graffiti relevant in a digital world.
What else is inside?
In researching for this project, I interviewed over 50 members of the street art and graffiti communities. In Viral Art, you’ll find never-before-published interviews, quotes and anecdotes from Banksy, Shepard Fairey, KATSU, Poster Boy, Ron English, Martha Cooper and many more.
Another cool touch is the cover, which you can see at the top of this post. It’s an animated GIF designed by General Howe, featuring artwork by Diego Bergia, General Howe and Jay Edlin, as well as photographs by Martha Cooper and myself.
What’s all this gonna cost?
Nothing. You will be able to read Viral Art for free online. There will also be PDF and EPUB versions available for download.
How can fans support the book?
To help get the word out about Viral Art, you can join the campaign on Thunderclap.it. Thunderclap is kind of like Kickstarter, but instead of asking for money, I’m asking you to send out a link on the day that Viral Art goes live. Joining the campaign that will let you automatically tell your friends about Viral Art through Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr on December 16th.
This book is the result of two and a half years of mostly-unpaid labor. It’s being self-published. My marketing budget consists of a few bucks for ads on Facebook. Major publishers spend thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars marketing everything they produce, but this project has no book tour or publicist or anything like that. There’s only your support.
If you can help spread the word about Viral Art by joining the Thunderclap, I would be extremely grateful. Thank you. And of course, I hope you’ll read the book come December 16th.